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Rigging a Sailship

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Sailing ships could be rigged in a variety of ways. In most case, the type of ship defined the style of the rig but, on larger vessels in particular, the rigging style could be changed to suit a particular use or even the Master's personal preferance.


Sailing Ship Rigs
Rig Sample Image Description

Sloop Sloop rig One masted rig with a single jib, or headsail. Gaff-rigged or Bermuda main-sail.

Yawl Yawl rig Two masts with a much larger fore and aft rigged main mast. The smaller mizzen-mast is stepped aft of the tiller.

Ketch Ketch rig Two masts with a fore and aft rigged main mast and a smaller mizzen mast.

Brig Brig rig Two masts with both fully square-rigged. A spinaker or trysail is set on the lower main mast.

Snow Snow rig A brig with two fully square rigged masts and a spinaker on the lower foremast and/or a trysail set on a small mast aft of the mainmast.

Brigantine Brigantine rig A fully square rigged two masted vessel with the main mast fore and aft rigged.

Ship Ship rig Three fully square rigged masts with spinakers attached fore of the lower main mast. Popular during the period around 1812.

Barque Barque rig Three or more masts, fully square rigged on the fore mast, with the usual spinakers attached to the lower main mast. Fore and aft rigged on the remaining masts.

Schooner Schooner rig Two masts with both fore and aft rigged. Some were fitted with a raffee topsail, as in this illustration.

Schooner Schooner rig - 3 mast Three or more masted variant. All masts fore and aft rigged.

Topsail Schooner Topsail Schooner rig Two or more masts all fore and aft rigged but with square sails on the fore topmast.


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